The Law of God: Questions and Answers
How shall we understand and apply God’s Law today?
The Laws and statutes of God are a sword with two edges.
“You shall not oppress your neighbor or rob him. The wages of a hired servant shall not remain with you all night until the morning.” Leviticus 19:13
The Law of God is frequently scorned—even within the Christian community—as being too negative. “It’s just a list of dos and don’ts,” many insist.
But in saying this they fail to note what Jesus taught concerning the Law of God. All the “negative” commandments of God—no other gods, do not commit adultery, do not bear false witness, and so forth—carry with them very positive requirements of love. Jesus summarized the entire Law, and the prophets, by saying, in a most positive way, that they teach us how to love God and our neighbors (Matt. 22:34-40). Love is surely a very powerfully positive way of relating to others.
The Law of God, in other words, is a sword with two edges. It prohibits certain kinds of activities—such as oppression and robbing—while it commends others, such as honoring contracts. So if I love my neighbor I will honor the terms of our contract, and I will pay him what I have promised, precisely when, according to our agreement, that payment is due.
But the requirements of such contracts works both ways. My neighbor must fulfill his end of the bargain as well. We expect the railing being built around our back deck to live up the expectations created in the contract we signed, including, quality of materials and craftsmanship, faithfulness to the plan, and timeliness. In other words, my neighbor, who expects to be paid in a full and timely manner, must be diligent to fulfill his part of the contract as well. This is his duty of love toward us, as agreed upon before the project began.
An honest wage for an honest day’s labor: that’s the principle, and, as we shall see, this is a principle the New Testament endorses as continuing in effect in the age of grace and the Kingdom of God.
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In the Gates is a devotional series on the Law of God by Rev. T. M. Moore, editor of the Worldview Church. He serves as dean of the Centurions Program of the Wilberforce Forum and principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He is the author or editor of twenty books, and has contributed chapters to four others. His essays, reviews, articles, papers, and poetry have appeared in dozens of national and international journals, and on a wide range of websites. His most recent books are The Ailbe Psalter and The Ground for Christian Ethics (Waxed Tablet).
Scripture quotations in this article are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, (c) copyright 2001, 2007 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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